You have to feel for Leeds United new boy Robin Koch.
The Germany international has been given a huge task at Elland Road in the form of replacing Ben White this season, and as far as baptisms of fire go, they don’t come much hotter than making your debut against Liverpool.
Things were made considerably worse for the centre-back when he was harshly judged to have handled the ball in his own penalty area during the opening exchanges.
That incident led to the first goal in a thrilling 4-3 defeat, but while things may have started poorly for the 24-year-old, he did improve as the game went on.
Taking that initial blunder out of the equation, Koch actually contributed a fair amount defensively.
His 10 interceptions equalled White’s best ever total in a Leeds shirt, as per Wyscout, and was 6.24 higher than the loanee’s average per 90 minutes.
As we can see from the graphic above, Koch was making a number of these interventions in vital areas of the pitch too.
Having a centre-back who can command his area like that is a real blessing, and will no doubt have pleased Marcelo Bielsa.
Likewise, Koch won 14 out of his 18 duels at Anfield, giving him a success rate of 78%.
Again, to contextualise, White’s average last season was 62%.
Clearly, there is a battler in there somewhere, and were it not for that unfortunate handball, this surely would have been viewed as a much more favourable performance by the new arrival.
There were also promising signs of Koch’s ability on the ball too.
In particular, his range of passing caught the eye.
Koch’s long pass accuracy rate was 42%, completing five successful lengthy deliveries.
White surpassed that total just three times over the course of 90 minutes across a whole season at Elland Road.
Pleasingly, four out of this five went forwards too.
When Leeds come up against less challenging opposition – and theoretically, that should cover just about everybody else in the league – that range of distribution could be a vital weapon in helping to break the lines and help the Whites to turn defence into attack at speed.
All things considered, this was far from a dream debut for Koch.
But taking a slightly broader view of his performance as a while, it was far from being a nightmare either.
In other Leeds United news, Whites handed boost as player confirms return ahead of schedule
Be sure to follow MOT Leeds News on Facebook for 24/7 updates on the Whites and more exclusive content with Paul Robinson.